Row over AP MA&UD favouring' company

APTIDCO is supposed to execute the NTR Scheme, aimed at providing housing for the urban poor, within the next two years.

Vijayawada: The state municipal administration and urban development ministry’s decision to award the housing construction project to a big construction company, at the rate of Rs 1,950 per sq foot, sparked a huge controversy.

It is alleged that the department’s involvement has hampered development over the past two years and this is reflected in the fact that not a single house has been built yet.

The Andhra Pradesh town planning and infrastructure development corporation (APTIDCO) submitted a proposal to the department last month, quoting a rate of Rs 1,450 per sq. ft, for construction of 500 houses each at 10 spots in the capital region, as per the CRDA’s request.

However, the department did not approve that proposal. Instead, it modified it and handed it over to a major construction company.

This move seems to be contrary to Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu’s assurance that local builders will be given maximum opportunities.

The MA&UD department has quoted a rate which is higher than what was quoted by its nodal agency. This will cause the government exchequer a loss in hundreds of crores of rupees, it is alleged.

Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) is a popular model adopted for projects such as road construction and roof-top solar panels across the globe.

The plans for housing construction in Ketakanonda, near Ibrahimpatnam, include sophisticated features including pre-fabricated and pipe-lined concrete slabs that are termite-free, rust-free and water-proof. However, the housing authorities seem to have neglected to follow up on the works.

An official from the housing department says: “The estimates that were prepared then were for between Rs 4.5 lakh and Rs 6.5 lakh for two bedroom apartment with an extent of 300-450 sq. ft.”

He says he wonders how APTIDCO will arrange for the remaining finances required for the project.

APTIDCO is supposed to execute the NTR Scheme, aimed at providing housing for the urban poor, within the next two years.

It recently convened a meeting with local builders, in which it sought details regarding how houses could be constructed with minimum amount of time, with quality, and most economically.

APTIDCO had invited suggestions and quotations from builders for pre-fabricated constructions carried out as public-private partnerships. The department of MA&UD however ignored the outcome of the meeting.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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